For most of adults, riding a bicycle was a favorite pastime as a child. Many have fond memories of their hair in the wind and the breeze on their face. That pastime often turns into a great hobby as an adult. Perhaps you like to ride for enjoyment or ride to stay fit and healthy. Many adults use bicycles for transportation in metropolitan areas.
Unfortunately, there are instances when this favorite form of exercise turns into tragedy with a serious bicycle accident. As a personal injury lawyer, I see serious injuries in bike accidents — injuries that most would associate with pedestrian accidents, car accidents, truck accidents or motorcycle accidents. But even bikes can be involved in serious or even fatal accidents.
Most often, bicycle accidents are the result of someone else’s negligence and they are usually severe due to the lack of protection for the rider. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 30% of all bicycle accidents that were reported involved a motor vehicle. This is a very disturbing statistic, especially when accounting for the fact that many bicycle injuries are not reported at all.
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident that left you severely injured, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your accident with the help of a personal injury attorney. I have been protecting victims’ rights and settling bicycle accident injury claims for more than 30 years.
There are several ways that people end up injured while riding a bicycle. These injuries are not always reported, which means there are most likely many more of these cases than people are even aware of. That, alone, is disturbing. Most often, bicycle injuries involve a motor vehicle. Sometimes a driver is distracted and just doesn’t see the person on the bicycle. Other accidents that are reported include faulty roadways and bicycle paths. Perhaps there is a pot-hole or some unfinished construction that causes an accident.
Other accidents that are reported involve collisions with other riders and/or pedestrians. Even people’s pets cause injuries. Dogs running out in front of a bicyclist, or even chasing them, account for as much as 5% of the accidents that are reported.
Typically, any injury that is incurred as a result of some else’s negligence can be covered. Bicycle injuries can be severe due to the lack of protection for the rider. These injuries can be permanent and can radically change the victim’s entire life. Many times these injuries may include broken bones or spinal cord injuries and may require surgery. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, it is best to speak with an attorney to determine if a lawsuit can recover financial compensation for you.
Usually, it’s clear who will is liable and who will pay for damages and injuries in car accidents. Bicycle accidents can be a bit more challenging in this regard. It is often insurance companies that pay for these injuries. Most often either automobile insurance or homeowner’s insurance must cover the cost. However, every case is different and should be investigated thoroughly.
The facts of each case dictate where the responsibility lies and who should be held accountable. I will leave no stone unturned when investigating your case. I will study every option and look at your case from every angle.
As stated earlier, a large number of accidents involving bicyclists aren’t even reported. If you sustained injuries during this accident, there are some steps you’ll want to take in case a claim needs to be pursued. Often times, motorists refuse to accept responsibility in these types of accidents. What follows is a set of instructions to best help preserve your rights after a bicycle accident.
The first thing you’ll want to do is report the accident. The majority of severe bicycle accidents involve motor vehicles and they need to be reported. However, even if the accident is the result of someone’s dog running out in front of you, it needs to be reported. Call the police and make a report. This documents the accident and helps get your version of the report on paper.
The next thing you need to do is obtain driver and/or witness contact information. If it was a dog, get the owner’s contact information. Don’t assume that it will be in the police report or that they will get all of the information. If you are injured, you can ask a witness to get it for you. You will need this information going forward.
If you are able, take pictures of the accident scene. Get pictures of the damage to your bike and all of your injuries. Just use your phone and try to snap some pictures of anything that may be relevant. Again, if you are injured, you can ask a witness to use your phone to snap the pics.
Of course, you will want to seek medical attention for your injuries. Even if you feel that your injuries are minor, you should seek medical attention. This will help document your injuries should you decide to pursue a claim.
Don’t sign anything or give any sworn statements. Many times insurance companies will contact you right away after an injury. It doesn’t matter if the adjuster is from your insurance company or somebody else’s. It is imperative that you do not give any sworn statements or sign any paperwork until you speak to an attorney. If they send you something in the mail, take it with you to the attorney’s office.
This next step is a little difficult for some, but it is best to preserve evidence. Don’t get your bicycle fixed until your attorney says it's ok. Keep the clothing that you were wearing in a separate bag; don’t throw them away. Don’t get rid of your bicycle helmet or anything else you may have been wearing when the accident occurred. The key here is to try to preserve all of the evidence possible.
You will want to seek out the advice of legal counsel as soon as you are able. An experienced attorney will be able to review the facts, all applicable insurance coverage, and give you some options.
This also applies to pedestrian accidents involving bikes. If you hit a pedestrian on your bike, you will need to seek help from a personal injury attorney to discuss your case.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries while riding a bicycle, contact me today. If your bicycle accident was caused by the negligence or willful disregard of another person, you may be due financial compensation. Call (713) 903-8339 or contact the firm online to schedule an initial consultation. As an experienced and aggressive bicycle injury attorney, I diligently represent clients in Houston, Texas, and the surrounding areas.